Parenting 101Leave a Comment
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” ~Ephesians 6:4.
Take out the word “father” and replace it with “mom or dad.” I believe the term father was used partially because dad’s are the head of the household and partially because fathers can struggle with nurturing.
In any case, every parent should be mindful of this type of corrective action plan. Our desire should be to help our children have a right heart, turned towards God. How can we do that if our hearts are not right when we are attempting to adjust their behaviors?
Years ago, I had a spirit of anger on me. I am pretty sure I inherited it from my daddy–because that man had a temper. He was very short fused, extremely quick to react. Even though I knew that I was the “apple of his eye”, his words were hurtful to my heart when he was angry. He would also identify every flaw I had, whether it was physical, mental, or emotional. No topic was off the table when it came to things he would say when he was angry. I will say, I don’t think I ever heard any curse words out of his mouth, so there is that. And when he was loving, there was no doubt of his love.
He wasn’t perfect and got it wrong a lot, but most people do.
Up until about 10 years ago, I struggled with the same type of responses when provoked or annoyed. They didn’t happen nearly as often as his, but when they did, I could clearly see the ache in my loved one’s eyes. The cool thing is regret was instant and it helped me make changes. There have also been times that I have said things, not having a filter, that have hurt a person’s feelings and I just didn’t realize it until someone else pointed it out.
I am a work in progress but getting better and better at it each day.
There are many different ways to discipline to correct an unwanted behavior. As long as the discipline is meant to disciple the child in growing their spiritual qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then you are on the right track. Their heart quality is what really matters and anything done with the intent to humiliate can cause a heart issue for them.
A news anchor reported about a teenager who was on the side of the road, holding a cardboard sign. It stated, “If I don’t get my act together and start taking school seriously, this could be my future.” They were speaking ill of the parent for humiliating their son like that. In their context, I would agree, but they left many details out of the story.
The teenager was not completing his school work or chores around the house. He had a cell phone and a car that his parents paid for. This young man was well taken care of and not pulling his weight around the house like the rest of the family. Since he was very entitled, his parents decided to confront him about it. They wanted him to see that he will eventually have two choices: one to adhere to the authority that will be placed in front of him or to put himself in awkward and humbling situations like standing on the side of the road with a cardboard sign. He chose the cardboard sign to be rebellious.
Humbling experiences can bring great change.
When the teenager was interviewed, he informed the crew that he never really understood until he stood in another person’s shoes. He identified that he was grateful for what he has and he appreciated his parents’ love for him. They loved him enough to care for his needs. Tearing up, he reported that his consequences are the product of his choices. Sharing that he had learned a valuable lesson that day, he smiled at his parents. The parents were a little shocked when they heard him speaking.
The news castors asked if he felt that his parents shouldn’t have done that and if he was embarrassed. Smiling, he stated, “at first but I was getting a lot of encouragement and support from people who drove by that reminded me that I can change.” He went on to share that he still had the opportunity to not make that his fate and was willing to do things differently so it wouldn’t.
Our initial reaction to our children’s poor choices may be to just say no. We may even respond emotion driven. What solves the problem isn’t the no but the why. This era is the age of instant information and instant gratification. If we, parents, don’t change the way we say no, then they will say yes to even more.
Our kids just want answers.
If we pause to spend a little time explaining our “no”, they are more likely going to abide by it without argument. Kids argue, not because they are trying to be defiant, but because they are trying to understand. From the time you are born until you die, your brain wants information. We don’t instinctively do as we are told. If we did, there wouldn’t be sin and a reason for salvation.
Information is the key to progress and power. The more you know, the more you feel capable.
Babies put everything in their mouth.
Toddlers touch everything.
Elementary through high school kids need experiments and tactile functioning to obtain information.
Input is important. We want the whys and are usually satisfied with the answer, enough to move on to the next thing.
If you want your kids to be okay with discipline, don’t just tell them no and punish them. Give them the justifiable answer, at their level of thinking. When we begin to instruct in this way, our children will not be provoked to anger but to trust in who is raising them.
“No” is not a complete thought. If we want our children to learn to think like adults, we need to explain our adult thinking. Don’t command. Communicate. – L.R. Knost